Jun.25 (GMM) Amid an intense period of turmoil and introspection in F1, the debate this week has turned to whether an American billionaire can save the sport.
The latest alarming quote has come from Martin Whitmarsh, the former long-time McLaren chief who thinks the pinnacle of motor sport will “crash and burn”.
But Mario Andretti, the 1978 world champion, thinks America is coming to the rescue.
“In America we have the mindset to make things happen,” he said, hot on the heels of news Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is looking to take over the sport from Bernie Ecclestone and CVC.
Reportedly also involved in the $8 billion deal is Qatar’s sports investment arm, with Andretti telling the Guardian: “I can’t see any negatives. A solid investment would spell stability for the sport.”
Andretti said the move could be an answer for many of F1’s problems, including technical rules that are confusing and turning off a dwindling audience.
The teams, however, are currently in the dark, as the news has been leaked to several media outlets but not officially confirmed.
“It all sounds very speculative at the moment,” an unnamed team boss said. “Who will be in charge?”
F1 supremo Ecclestone has admitted the deal would see him sell his stake, but his former sparring partner Max Mosley insists the 84-year-old Briton’s role “won’t change”.
“There is nobody else who does the job as well,” the former FIA president told BBC radio.